The 80th annual Academy Awards ceremony aired last night, hosted for the second time by Jon Stewart. It was more informal and well down on the energy scale than in years past. Mr. Stewart did a great job at bringing his signature lines and delivery to the telecast, while being mindful to not step over the line. But the shows’ planners may have over-prepared for the potential of having to go on without the writers, then decided to keep it all in the show. There were many more prerecorded clips of past Oscar moments than usual. Oddly enough, I liked seeing most of them having always felt the writing, especially for the presenters, was trite and and not in keeping with the sophistication of the night. But they either went by too quickly, or were repeated too often. I think I saw Cher accepting her Moonstruck award three times! Note to the Academy. Here’s a new best practice. Don’t let the writers write so much. Less writing = shorter telecast.
No film dominated, as the awards were handed out quite evenly across the board. Looking back at the year, that felt right to me. My personal favorite No Country for old Men, won the three big ones; picture (Scott Rudin producer), director and adapted screenplay (both by Joel and Ethan Coen). The film had only one actor nomination and won it. Javier Bardem’s supporting role in his portrayal of Anton Chigurh. Not a character you ever want to encounter, friend-O.
Rounding out the other acting awards were, Daniel-Day Lewis in There Will Be Blood (no brainer), Tilda Swinton in Michael Clayton (somewhat of a surprise) and Marion Cotillard in La Vie en Rose (the long shot comes in).
The Bourne Ultimatum won three technical awards (editing, sound editing and sound mixing), while There Will be Blood snagged the cinematography statue (Robert Elswit). Juno took the Oscar for original screenplay (Diablo Cody). Atonement walked away with only one, original score. Best song went to Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova for Falling Slowly from the film Once (the Menken/Schwartz days may be over).
A good, not great year for film. The same can be said for the awards show.